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Calgary Flames and Sharks Preview, Road Trip Recap, Draft Pick Update

07 Mar

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted anything, I have no better excuse that it’s taken me a while to catch up with all the games I’ve PVR’d. What I can say overall is that the scenario of being in a came and losing it in the final 5 minutes, or being behind by one goal and not being able to score with the goalie pulled — and losing — is the best possible outcome for the Flames and our rebuild.

Race for the draft pick lottery

First of all, Sports Club Stats has the odds of the Flames making the playoffs this year at 0.8%. So let’s move right to the conversation on tanking.

Calgary is second last in the league, one point below both Edmonton and Winnipeg. However Calgary has three games in-hand on the Oilers, so unless they lose all three, chances are we’ll be ahead of Edmonton before too long.

Since last-place Toronto is six points below Calgary, there is little chance the Flames are going to ‘catch’ them for the best shot at the first overall pick. However even if you finish last, your odds of picking first are just 1-in-5. Then the odds for teams 29th through 20th overall begin at 13.5% and go down to 5%. So really your odds of getting that pick are similar if you finish in the bottom handful of teams.

If the season were to end today, Calgary has a 11.5% chance of winning the pick.

Here are the projected top-five picks, according to Sportsnet:

1. Auston Matthews, C, Zurich (Swiss) 6-2, 195 lb.
Passed on the NCAA and the WHL to go to Europe and has six goals in first eight games.

2. Jakob Chychrun, D, Sarnia (OHL) 6-2, 194 lb.
Has recovered from off-season shoulder surgery. Is a physically dominant player with offensive talent.

3. Matthew Tkachuk, LW, London (OHL) 6-1, 188 lb.
Just like his dad: A prototypical power left winger. Chose the Knights over the University of Notre Dame.

4. Patrik Laine, LW, Tampere (Finland) 6-4, 210 lb.
Has an NHL shot now and scouts are already talking about how he plays with an Esa Tikkanen-like edge.

5. Julien Gauthier, C, Val d’Or (QMJHL) 6-4, 221 lb.
Seven goals in 10 games to start his third campaign in the “Q”. Had 38 last season.

San Jose Sharks at Calgary Flames preview

The San Jose Sharks are 2-1-1 against the Calgary Flames this year, who won 6-5 in a shootout at SAP Center on Feb. 11 in their most recent game.

After a 4-2 home loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday ended a three-game winning streak, coach Pete DeBoer is hoping the Sharks can bounce back against the two teams with the fewest points in the Western Conference – San Jose plays Edmonton afterwards.

Goaltender Joni Ortio is expected to start after he got his first NHL victory since Jan. 19, 2015, in a 4-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. Ortio has allowed 13 goals and has a .914 save percentage in his past five games.

Let’s recap the trip

Calgary Flames 4 – Pittsburgh Penguins 2

Calgary ended a 7-game losing streak when they fought back from two one-goal deficits to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 at Consol Energy Center on Saturday. Ortio finally won a game this year, Joni Ortio made 29 saves to earn his first win in 10 appearances this seasons (1-6-2).

Buffalo Sabres 6 – Calgary Flames 3

The Buffalo Sabres are 10-0-2 against the Flames since Calgary’s last win in Buffalo since 1996. Marcus Foligno had a goal and two assists and Jack Eichel scored his 18th goal of the season to help the Sabres to a 6-3 win against the Flames at First Niagara Center on Thursday.

Boston Bruins 2 – Calgary Flames 1

Patrice Bergeron scored a tie-breaking power-play goal with 3:24 remaining in the third period to give the Boston Bruins a 2-1 win against the Calgary Flames at TD Garden on Tuesday.

Calgary was assessed a bench minor for having too many men on the ice with 4:07 to play. The Bruins’ power play had been 0-for-4 and hadn’t scored in a goal in Boston’s previous four games. But Bergeron capitalized on Boston’s fifth chance of the night when he beat Joni Ortio with a one-timer.

Philadelphia Flyers 5 – Calgary Flames 3

Brayden Schenn got his first NHL hat trick, and Claude Giroux had four assists to lift the Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-3 win against the Calgary Flames at Wells Fargo Center on Monday.

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Calgary acquires Hunter Shinkaruk from the Canucks

23 Feb

Markus Granlund is no longer a Calgary Flame. Hunter Shinkaruk is — or a Stockton Heat anyway.

The Flames were able to swap the 22-year-old for a former 1st round pick in Hunter Shinkaruk. I’m not sure what Vancouver was thinking in this instance, since they are a year behind Calgary in their own rebuild. I guess they figured that they needed some depth at centre, and that they had enough prospects with scoring ability to trade one for a bottom six forward?

Obviously both players still have their careers ahead of them but at this point it seems like Granlund projects to be a middle-6/bottom-6 forward while Shinkaruk’s productions leaves reason to optimistic about his future as a top-6 guy at the NHL level.

It’s not all roses for the Calgary Flames though, at least one Vancouver blogger feels that Granlund may turn out to be a long-term NHLer where Shinkaruk will not. Even though he raises a couple good points, I still like our chances of winning this one long-term.

A Calgary native, Shinkaruk was drafted by the Canucks in the first round (24th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft. The 21-year-old has 21 goals and 18 assists in 45 games this season with the AHL’s Utica Comets. The winger made his NHL debut this season on Nov. 16 for Vancouver against Montreal.

Granlund is a 22-year-old forward who has gotten off to a respectable start to his NHL career tallying 14 goals and 28 points in his first 86 NHL games.

Anaheim Ducks 5, Calgary Flames 2

Hey guess what? The Flames lost a game in Anaheim! I know right? It’s shocking that the Flames — who haven’t won in Anaheim in more than a decade — lost another one on Sunday.

Ryan Kesler had two goals and an assist to help the Anaheim Ducks to a 5-2 win against the Calgary Flames. Patrick Maroon, Ryan Getzlaf and Kevin Bieksa scored for the Ducks (31-19-8).

The Flames (26-29-3), who got goals from Mark Giordano and Mikael Backlund, have lost 22 straight regular-season games in Anaheim. Their last win was Jan 19, 2004.

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Minnesota Wild at Calgary Flames preview

17 Feb

I’ve been a little behind in updating the site. It’s really quite amazing how difficult it has become to find 5 free minutes to write down some grumblings on the Flames. Of course, since I PVR most of the games it sometimes takes me some time to catch up, but I did that last night. Watching most of the loss to the Ducks, at least the parts where we repeatedly gave up leads and Hiller let in soft goals.

Oh yeah, how bad has the penalty kill been as of late? It feels as though every game Calgary is giving up 2-3 powerplay goals, and you aren’t going to win much like that.

Minnesota Wild at Calgary Flames

Minnesota will try to win back-to-back games for the first time since December 31. The Wild ended an eight-game losing streak with a 5-2 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Monday in John Torchetti’s debut as interim coach. Devan Dubnyk, who won for the first time in his past nine starts Monday, is the expected starter. He is 9-5-3 with a 2.23 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage in 18 career games against his hometown Flames.

Kris Russell will be further evaluated after a lower-body injury kept him out of the 6-4 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Monday. Russell, who is second in the NHL with 174 blocked shots, is considered day-to-day. Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik did not participate in practice Tuesday and are questionable. Goaltender Karri Ramo will undergo an MRI for a lower-body injury sustained against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday and is out indefinitely. Jonas Hiller will start in goal for the foreseeable future.

Anaheim Ducks 6, Calgary Flames 4

Considered longshots before the Christmas break, the Anaheim Ducks moved two points closer to first place in the Pacific Division with a 6-4 win against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday.

Jiri Hudler had two goals and an assist, and Johnny Gaudreau and Dougie Hamilton scored for the Flames (25-27-3). Calgary, sixth in the Pacific, has lost two straight games.

Mike Santorelli scored twice and Frederik Andersen made 33 saves for the Ducks, who remained in second place in the division but pulled to within five points of the first place Los Angeles Kings. The Ducks have gone 16-4-2 since the Christmas break.

Arizona Coyotes 4, Calgary Flames

In a game where the Flames needed a win, they instead really stunk up the joint.

Jonas Hiller made 32 saves for Calgary (25-26-3), which had its three-game winning streak ended. The Flames took 10 penalties and gave up three power-play goals for the second straight night.

Shane Doan had two goals and an assist to become the all-time points leader in franchise history, and Coyotes ended a five-game losing streak with a 4-1 win against the Calgary Flames at Gila River Arena on Friday.

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Calgary Flames at Arizona Coyotes preview

12 Feb

Calgary Flames 6, San Jose Sharks 5

What a wild game that was in San Jose. Here is a quick recap.

Calgary scored four goals in the first 20 minutes on just nine shots. Alex Stalock was absolutely terrible for the Sharks. San Jose scored a first-period goal of their own, but Calgary seemed to be in control… until they started taking penalties.

The Sharks scored three powerplay goals on nine attempts – including two full 2-minute 5-on-3 powerplays. The Flames did everything they could to hand this game back to the Sharks – and come back they did – scoring four unanswered goals to take the lead in the third by a 5-4 score.

Karri Ramo was injured with three minutes left in the third when Sharks forward Joonas Donskoi crashed into him. Backup Jonas Hiller made eight saves through overtime before denying three of four San Jose shooters in the shootout.

“We really needed these points, and I want nothing more than to help the team win,” Hiller said. Well you’re going to get that chance now, looks like Ramo might be out a while.

Don’t look now, but the Calgary Flames have won three games in a row. Effectively removing themselves from the 1st overall 2016 pick conversation for the time being.

Interesting fact, T. J. Brodie is the only Calgary Flames defenseman who is a plus player at +14. The other five combine for a -15.

Calgary Flames at Arizona Coyotes preview

This year the Arizona Coyotes have won the first two of five games against the Calgary Flames by a 2-1 score.

Hey Antoine Vermette, do you think this is going to be an easy win against the Flames?

“It goes without saying, there’s no easy game in this League, especially in the position we are. So, no, we are expecting a hard game,” Vermette said.

It saddens me that other NHLers even get asked that question.

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Is it time for the Calgary Flames to strive for the 1st overall pick?

08 Feb

Before the Vancouver Canucks game they showed a stat stating Calgary needs to have a .704 winning percentage for the remainder of the season if they expect to make the playoffs. That’s based on 94 points being the cutoff and even though you can say that the Pacific division is terrible this year, it still works out time and time again that 94 points gets you in, 93 leaves you out.

Sp what does a .704 winning percentage look like? Well, that’s winning (not shootout/OT losing) two out of every three games from here on out. AND… winning three out of four games at least a couple of times.

Only the Washington Capitals have a winning percentage that good this year, and their record is 38-9. Which is an incredible 29 games above .500. Even Chicago can’t maintain a .704 winning percentage – and they are 20 games above .500.

I say we start to tank, see if we can tear the 1st overall pick from the clutches of the lowly Edmonton Oilers. Lord knows they don’t know what to do with it.

Columbus Blue Jackets 2, Calgary Flames 1

William Karlsson scored two goals, and Joonas Korpisalo made 30 saves to lift the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 2-1 win against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday.

Recap on NHL.com

Calgary Flames 4, Vancouver Canucks 1

Michael Frolik opened the scoring 6:25 into the second period and Hiller helped Calgary hold that 1-0 lead until Sean Monahan added an insurance goal with 4:53 left in the third.Mikael Backlund and Sam Bennett had empty-net goals as Calgary (23-25-3) bounced back from a 2-1 home loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday to get their second win in the past six games.

Recap on CalgaryFlames.com

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Wideman gets 20 games (seriously), Flames defeat Carolina 4-1

04 Feb

Dennis Wideman and the Players Association appeal the 20-game suspension

I understand that the NHL wants to make an example of Wideman. I understand that the referees and linesman are not to be touched, under any circumstances. I would be okay with Wideman getting fined, or possibly a game or two for running over linesman Don Henderson. You have to be in control of yourself on the ice, right?

But 20 games? For an inadvertent hit that had not intent or malice? Come one, that’s a little ridiculous. You’re talking about a player who’s played over 800 games in the NHL and has never been suspended for anything until now. I find it unfortunate that the media can make something out of nothing which leads to the NHL changing how they operate. This is the second time you’ve seen this happen this week, we all remember that John Scott character.

This is wishy-washy management of the league, with unclear operational processes that can be heavily influenced by social media. Pathetic. I can’t believe they extended Bettman for seven more years.

Calgary Flames 4, Carolina Hurricanes 1

After the rigmarole, the Flames had a game to play.

I don’t know if you can really make the Wideman thing into a motivator, but maybe it was something to rally around. Whatever it was, Calgary came out strong for the first time in a long time.

The biggest thing for me as I watched this game wasn’t Monahan’s four points, or Ramo’s 1-goal outing; it was T. J. Brodie’s knee. I’m going to have to go watch the replay, but I was there at the game sitting on the blue line and that play was offside. It should have been blown dead and we shouldn’t be talking about Brodie being injured while blocking a shot he shouldn’t have had to.

Recap of the game

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Dennis Wideman, the All Star Break and another home loss

29 Jan

Wideman suspended

Dennis Wideman

I saw the hit, and yeah I think there was a bit of a cross-check there. But I do think it was unintentional and Wideman was probably not really thinking about what we was doing, I certainly don’t think it was malicious. That said, you have to always be aware of what you’re doing so I agree he should be punished.

Dennis Wideman has been suspended indefinitely pending a hearing for checking and knocking down linesman Don Henderson on Wednesday night. Wideman will have a hearing Tuesday with the NHL’s department of hockey operations.

I can’t imagine there being more than a game or two suspension out of this.

Gaudreau and Giordano off to the All Star game

I’m not really a big fan of the All-Star game, but with Gaudreau in the 3-on-3 format I’ll probably tune in for a little bit. Lord knows I haven’t been able to watch any talented hockey players lately with only the Flames games on the tele.

Full schedule for the All Star Weekend

Captains make picks for All-Star Skills Competition

John Scott ready to have fun in All-Star Game

Nashville Predators 2, Calgary Flames 1

Oh goodie, we lost another 1-goal game.

And in the same fashion as all the others. The Flames got behind early, then tried to rally back in the third as seems to be their game-plan. Only this year it hasn’t been working for them.

Mark Giordano scored for the Flames (21-24-3), who lost the first of a three-game homestand split around the break after going 1-3-1 on a five-game road trip.

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Carolina Hurricanes 5, Calgary Flames 2

25 Jan

Well Calgary wasn’t in this one from the start. They were giving up pucks in their own zone, couldn’t enter the Hurricanes’ (almost wrote Panthers there) end and couldn’t make a pass through centre ice to save their lives. You know when Matt Stajan is one of your stand-out players, you’re in for a long night.

Once the Carolina Hurricanes jumped out to their 3-goal lead against the Calgary Flames on Sunday, it was just too much for the Flames to overcome. Even if the announcers had faith, you didn’t see Calgary making a game of this one. Although it almost seemed like they might, making in close at 3-2 and gaining some momentum. However that was squashed by the Canes.

Victor Rask, Elias Lindholm and Joakim Nordstrom scored and Eddie Lack made 33 saves for Carolina (22-20-8). Jiri Hudler and Joe Colborne scored for Calgary (21-22-3). Karri Ramo allowed three goals on 19 shots before being replaced by Jonas Hiller, who made 15 saves.

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Calgary Flames 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 2

23 Jan

Flames center Sam Bennett scored twice, and Calgary (21-21-3) avoided a third straight loss.

Bennett’s first goal 4:15 into the second period broke a 1-1 tie. His second goal with 5:32 remaining in the third period gave the Flames a two-goal lead after Johnny Gaudreau scored on a tough-angle shot that put Calgary ahead 3-2 at 1:28.

Bennett, a 19-year-old rookie who was the fourth pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, has 13 goals. He has eight goals in his past five games, including four against the Florida Panthers on Jan. 13.

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Calgary loses 2 in a row, now is 6 points out of the playoff race

20 Jan

Uh oh, losing two games in a row to start the longest road trip of the season is not how you want to start. Calgary has now slipped from being tied for the final playoff spot to being six points out, just like that.

New Jersey Devils 4, Calgary Flames 2

The New Jersey Devils defeated the Calgary Flames in 17 seconds. The Devils took a 3-1 lead early in the second period when Stempniak and Boucher scored 17 seconds apart and that was enough it seemed. Calgary battled back, but was unable to solve Cory Schneider.

Sean Monahan and Kris Russell scored, New Jersey native Johnny Gaudreau had two assists, and goaltender Jonas Hiller made 22 saves for Calgary (20-21-3), which has lost back-to-back games.

Edmonton Oilers 2, Calgary Flames 1 (Shootout)

Teddy Purcell scored the only goal in the shootout to give the Edmonton Oilers a 2-1 win against the Calgary Flames at Rexall Place on Saturday.

Calgary had their chances for sure, including a powerplay in overtime which translates to a goal 80% of the time. But they couldn’t solve Cam Talbot.

Defenseman Mark Fayne scored his first goal of the season and Cam Talbot made 31 saves to end a four-game losing streak for the Oilers (18-23-5), who have played eight consecutive one-goal games. Talbot was the main reason the Oilers were down only 1-0 after the first period. Calgary outshot Edmonton 14-8 in the period and had a number of excellent scoring opportunities, but Talbot was beaten only by Bennett, who scored his 11th of the season at 10:41.

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